Beloved Sopranos star Steve Schirripa, the man known for playing Bobby “Bacala” Baccalieri on the HBO hit mob series told quite a story recently on national radio. Schirripa was hawking his organic tomato sauces on the Imus in the Morning program, when the conversation took quite a turn.
By all accounts Schirripa’s gravy is quite good but the tale he had in store for Don Imus was far from appetizing. Schirripa described a charity event he attended with a non-celebrity friend. Sports stars and other celebs were at the event, so Schirripa’s pal wanted to get a photo-op with some of them. Most were glad to accommodate the picture requests. That is until Schirripa met up with former MLB slugger Reggie Jackson. According to Schirripa, Jackson gave a terse “hurry up” response when asked if he’d pose for a quick snapshot. Schirripa then reminded Mr. October that he had met him last year as well, at which Schirripa claims Jackson gave a rude “Oh yeah, I remember you now.”
Schirripa took things in stride. He politely walked away and his friend got the picture he wanted. Then, it happened. Something almost as shocking as belting three home runs in a single World Series game. After witnessing the earlier exchange, a security guard grabbed Schirripa and told him not to feel bad about the behavior of Jackson. The guard claimed the prickliness of the Hall of Famer is nothing new. He shared a story from the 1970s.
The guard spoke of a friend who owned a restaurant in the Big Apple that Jackson would frequent while a member of the Yankees. After becoming sick and tired of his nasty behavior, the staff in the kitchen had a special dish prepared for Jackson. The security guard told Schirripa that when Jackson ordered a shrimp cocktail, the men in the back took turns sticking the shrimp up their butts. Then they watched as Jackson ate the entire thing.
I have only met Jackson once. It was brief. He seemed nice enough. The stories of his less than friendly behavior, though, continue to surface. No story of retaliation has come out quite as unsavory as this one. Perhaps Jackson killed the taste with an after-dinner Reggie bar. No one knows. Clearly, though, there is a lesson to be learned. Be nice to those that prepare your food, no matter how many dingers you’ve hit. And never, ever cross Bobby “Bacala.”
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